June 30, 2008

Dignity of Labor

This is something that I have thought of for quite some time now. Let me begin with something that t according to many people shows me as a snob. I mostly watch English movies, vow away from Hindi ones and watch the Tamil ones that are prescribed by Balu, who shares my taste in movies, at least the good ones. It is usually a norm that he will watch a Tamil movie first and then if he finds it good and wants to go another time, he will go along with me.
In all the English movies that I have seen, people follow all kinds of professions, they are waiters, janitors, truck drivers, firemen, cops, business magnets, run of the mill farmers; you name a profession and they are in it. However, they are not given preferential treatment as I see happening in our country. What I fail to understand is why is that to us a person who cleans a drain is socially below the one that calls him to do so? Should it not be the other way around; he is able to do something you are not, therefore he is better than you are?
I do agree that there is a certain comparison going on, something that I vowed never to do however, when it is staring you in the face, there is not much that you can do about it. It pisses me off to see someone call a waiter the way that you call a dog, pouting your lips and making noises that sound like you are sucking hard on something. I use this example because it is the most obvious. Quite some people do not even know the names of the servant maid who come to clean their houses and cook for them. After all, they say, "She does a job, which I pay her to do and why should I know her past, her present and her future?" What do they have to benefit?
Let me tell you something that I have tried and has paid off. The next time you take a rickshaw, try indulging the driver in harmless banter. You do not notice the traffic you are stuck in and at the end of the ride; you have made your self an acquaintance. The other day, I got into a rickshaw and the driver did not even ask me where I was headed. He drove as if he knew where I was to go. Having been in a bad mood and lost in thought, I did not even notice until he pulled up in front of my office, apparently, I had talked to him a few days before and he remembered me.
Try talking to your maid the next time, ask her about her kids, about her life and I am sure that you will notice the improvement in the quality of work and the involvement that she has.
Why do a few words said in what can be described as kindness make such a difference? The reason is simple; you are treating them like a human being. You are giving them the most important thing that a person needs- dignity - dignity of labor. You are telling them that no matter what work you do, you are doing it to feed yourself and your children, the same way that I work. Just because you earn lesser than I do, that does not give me the right to look down on you (I beg you, please refrain from asking if there is anything that gives me the right to look down on you, the only thing that does if I am taller than you are and I am literally looking down on you).
In the end, I wish that no one would have to undergo what millions undergo in this country, of being denied the dignity of labor. The government talks about equality, unless there is dignity of labor, there cannot be any equality, for equality comes from within and not without.
You no better than I am,
For I am no better than you are.

3 comments:

NItya said...

Adi y dont u stop acting like a "sensitive soul" and be urself in ur posts and who more than me wud know the real "u". Am just tired of reading ur made up posts....wen will u get tired of acting?

Rajaraman said...

This is called motivation.I believe Mr. suresh Krishna CMD Of sundaram fasteners Knows evry one the employees by name. does not miss any marriage. or a BIG OCCASION INNTHE FAMILY OF HIS EMPLOYEES.That keep them going loyal. And that keeps him growing bigger
Sensitivity to feloow humans is a must. In that there need to be no actings it is spontaneous.

aditya said...

@ Nitya
If you read the post carefully, you will notice that there is nothing that is remotely connected to "sensitive soul" in the post. The post talks about doing small things that will give you great benefits. Talk to the rickshaw to be spared of the boredom, talk to the maid to be spared of inconsistency of performance. It is selfish in the end. It is just selfish in the end.
@Dad,
Sensitivity is just saying, "because you affect me, I am worried about you." You are not going to show the same sensitivity to a random person on the road that you show someone under your employment.